When you’re selling software as a service, you're selling something without a tangible, physical presence. On top of that, you're selling something that changes all the time – or selling something to a very specific, very small audience. For many people, what you're offering is something completely uninteresting – and something they don't even understand.
This makes SaaS marketing different from traditional marketing. It’s also what makes it extremely challenging.
SaaS marketing includes any type of promotion strategy aimed to sell or brand a SaaS product. Since web-based software products and cloud offerings are what SaaS is all about, this means that every digital effort to sell these falls under SaaS marketing.
When you're selling such products, your job continues even after someone purchases them. You're not just marketing the software, but also the services provided by the seller including maintenance, security, and upgrades.
Let’s check an example.
A client purchases cloud-based software offering various solutions for long-term use. Every now and then, you need to upgrade it to keep it functional. You also need to keep it safe – otherwise, clients will go elsewhere for similar solutions.
Since these kinds of products or services are different from others, SaaS marketing is very different, too. The strategies of SaaS marketing go beyond selling what’s currently ready to be purchased. Not to mention, since these aren’t physical products, most of the technology cannot be evaluated by prospects without accessing the dashboard first.
It is why SaaS marketing often includes freebies and monthly subscriptions – to give people a chance to see what they’re purchasing. It takes exceptional customer service and software to create a SaaS model and functional digital marketing. Prepping the software as a service is just the beginning but once you’re done, you need a way to entice people to engage with your program.
Finally, the task of a SaaS marketer is to maintain retention. As Gartner says, 80% of future revenue in this industry comes from 20% of the business's current customers.
When you already have an amazing product in your hands, and you’ve made it available online, why would you need SaaS marketing?
It’s just like anything else you’re selling – you need marketing to reach the target audience and turn prospects into leads. How else will people know about your software or even more importantly, how else will they build the desire to subscribe or make a purchase?
If you aren’t convinced just yet, here are the 5 main reasons to pursue SaaS marketing.
Businesses from all industries turn to digital marketing to widen their reach and attract more leads. For you, this is pretty much the only option to get customers.
It’s because what you’re offering is a digital product or service. You’re offering software as a service. It’s not something that they can order in the mail or go to the store and get in a bag. As such, it needs to be sold to people who need it, which of course, will use technology to get – and use it.
When your goal is to sell software as a service, you need digital marketing to make this happen. More specifically, you need effective SaaS marketing strategies such as the ones Skale mentions, to make your software visible and available to people.
If you’re struggling with this, popular marketing platforms like Skale can guide you through the process and help you get your software out in the open. It’s a way for you to beat your competition and reach the right audience, your target audience.
Either way, you need SaaS marketing because it is not the best option – it is your only option.
For starters, you need to find people who need your service. Convincing them to get your software and subscribe to it is the next step, one that cannot exist without this one.
You need leads first to create customers. That’s where SaaS marketing comes into the picture. This is best described in the WebCanopyStudio’s SaaS funnel:
According to the funnel, the goal of SaaS marketing is to attract and connect with potential buyers, convert them into leads, and close the deal. Finally, you need to keep them happy to keep them using your product.
Even when you do this, your job does not end there. You still need SaaS marketing – and you always will.
This is a long-term thing that continues to be important even when you already have subscribers for your software. Unless you have very specific goals and have majestically reached the number of subscribers you were hoping for, without plans to grow your database further, you need continuous marketing to keep attracting more people.
Even when you move to the next steps and work to turn prospects into customers, you still need SaaS marketing to get new leads, new prospects, and potentially – even more subscribers and customers.
SaaS marketing strategies are basically your way to shine on the market. These are your way in – the only chance you get to impress people who need your software.
Let’s name your product X. You don’t just need SEO optimization to get people to learn about software X. Good marketing will get you to the point where X reaches people who might be interested. But then, you need even more thorough marketing to show them that X is what they’ve been looking for.
This part of SaaS marketing is what makes it so different from other kinds of marketing. Since the software is not tangible and not something you sell in physical form, people can't know what you're offering unless they try it (and unless you tell them about it).
It’s why freemium is so effective in SaaS marketing. Neil Patel, an expert in marketing, shares that giving away freemium SaaS products can be highly beneficial. He says: “giving away free stuff is actually a good thing”.
This won’t sound like a good idea to traditional sellers, people who create and sell physical products. They might send a small sample every now and then, but a lot of the time, an image and a description are enough to get people to buy it.
Giving freebies is exactly what SaaS marketers do. This is a widely accepted strategy for onboarding and customer acquisition. Once you get people to notice X, you need to show them what it does.
Otherwise, why would they buy X if they don’t know what it offers them?
Selling software is a long-term action. You don’t just sell it and be done with it. Most of the revenue of SaaS companies comes from the same customers – and the same purchases. If you've joined this industry, you should understand that your customers are long-term.
You should never stop working on getting new leads and new customers, but the ones you already have – they are gold.
People need to be happy with your software, as well as your service, to keep using it. Since most SaaS products are based on subscription and purchased in a limited time, you have that amount of time to impress the user and convince them to re-purchase or re-subscribe.
For this industry, customer retention is critical. As RiverSaaSCapital says: “You have to retain to sustain”.
Right now, SaaS accounts for around 25% of all software – and the percentage is still growing. There are thousands of SaaS solutions at any moment, which makes the market competitive.
Unless you have something truly unique, something that no one else has, and something that a certain group of people needs, you need to work on beating the competition.
Even if you have the most unique idea for software, odds are that you’ll get competition once it starts gaining leads. This makes it more important than ever to brand your software. People should know about it right when they hear the name. Your software should stand out from the noise. That’s what SaaS marketing is all about.
SaaS is very useful today – and it’s used by many people, too. It’s why you chose to take this path and create your software as a service. For people, this is everything. It eliminates the huge costs of purchase and costs linked to upgrades and maintenance, and it offers them non-stop available solutions to many of their problems.
But, for people to start seeing your software as a solution, they need to learn about it. They need to find it, understand it, want to try it out, be impressed by it – and then purchase it. For all this to happen, you need SaaS marketing. It’s your best and only way to get your SaaS noticed. It’s also a long-term action that you must take to find subscribers, keep them interested, and build brand awareness for what you’ve created.